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Search Engine Marketing Strategy, Guide to Organic and Paid

Our digital marketing agency frequently receives questions from clients regarding their desire to focus on search engine marketing (paid search and organic search strategies) as part of their overall, comprehensive marketing strategy. Clients ask us, “Why do I need to invest in both paid search and organic search as part of my digital marketing strategy?” If the client performs well in organic, why should they pay for paid search? Or, if they are performing well with PPC tactics, why should they invest in an SEO strategy? Both are fair questions; however, to answer these, we must dive deeper into how paid search and organic listings work together and why it is essential to maintain both types of campaigns as part of a robust digital marketing strategy.

Paid click (PPC) campaigns are temporary. If you remove or pause your PPC campaign, you will not see your previous paid search traffic appear in your organic search data. Those clicks will likely go somewhere else, potentially to a competitor. That is why it is crucial to consider a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine marketing strategy, incorporating paid and organic search. Let’s look at specific examples of the potential benefits of running a search engine marketing strategy focusing on paid and organic searches together.


Valuable Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Real Estate

When you view the search results, you will notice the paid listings at the top and organic listings positioned below, filling the rest of the page. Visually, this is the easiest way to see how paid and organic benefit by working in tandem. If you think of the SERP as a prime real estate opportunity, you will want to maximize efforts to occupy as much on-page real estate as possible. It’s crucial to run paid search and search engine optimization together. The more space on the page you occupy, the less space your competition will occupy, which will potentially lead to more traffic, conversions, and revenue for your brand.

Google organic click-thru rates

Occupying as much of the page one search results real estate as possible is a key tactic in search engine marketing. It reinforces your brand identity to a website visitor (or potential visitor). If a searcher is earlier in their buying process and hasn’t performed a ton of research, occupying more page-one real estate helps you stand out against your competition and conveys a message of legitimacy. If they’ve never heard of your brand before but see you in the PPC ads and the top organic listings, users will be more open to clicking on your page and learning more about your product.


Using Cross-Channel Data Informs Search Engine Marketing

Ask any digital marketer the differences between PPC and SEO, and they will provide an extensive list of ways the two search engine marketing channels differ. However, these differences can give more significant insights for creating a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. For example, paid search is considered a sprint race, meaning data and results can be collected immediately following the posting of an ad. Marketers can take paid data and adjust the paid strategy in real-time based on the outcomes identified in the daily analysis. On the other hand, SEO is considered more of a marathon. Once finished with the initial cycle of search engine optimization, it can take more time for the website to get indexed by the search engines, therefore more time to collect data. SEO is a long-term play and requires regular updates in response to Google and other search engines updating their algorithms. Together, they form a strong mix of short interval and long-term data that will prove useful to the search engine marketing strategy. Separately, the data accrued from one component will actually help shape the other.

Using Paid Search Analytics for Organic Strategy

The data maturity differences can provide an excellent campaign snapshot for each channel. For example, it is beneficial to analyze PPC keyword data (such as Google Ads) when building an organic keyword strategy. We rely on these analytics for testing copy and refining call-to-action verbiage to optimize click-through rates and conversions. Then we can assess how PPC keywords perform and decide whether it makes sense to use those keywords in your organic strategy.

Using Organic Data for Paid Search Strategy

Conversely, organic keyword data can provide insights for paid search campaigns. PPC keywords are expensive since you must bid on them. Organic keywords are not. If you are running a paid search campaign on a tight budget, a great place to start your keyword research is by looking at the organic keyword ranking report. The report will give you valuable insight regarding top-performing keywords without investing and A/B testing in Google Ads.

SEO strategy relies heavily on using fresh, optimized content to maximize the search potential for a webpage. Organic content can also benefit paid search campaigns by improving the Quality Score. If a landing page has a low-quality score, adding properly optimized organic content to that page and creating a logical URL structure can help boost the Quality Score, improve ad rank, and reduce CPC while increasing conversion and engagement rates.


Search Engine Marketing Competitive Analysis

Competition for a brand can vary between paid search and organic. Paid search reports can identify competitors that might not have been uncovered from an organic perspective by showing who is bidding on keywords. For example, suppose you are a large ‘big box retailer’ with a comprehensive product breadth. In that case, you may automatically consider your competitive set as other big-box retailers in the same arena. However, your paid search reports may provide information regarding competitors not typically classified in the typical ‘big box retailer’ arena. Using the Google Ads Auction Insights report will allow you to identify competitors and impression share, which is information that can help develop an organic strategy outside of the ‘typical’ comp set.


Paid Search And Organic Coming Together As One

There can be ebbs and flows in the balance of paid search and organic working together. For example, you may experience higher organic traffic on the weekends, but your paid search traffic may not reflect the same increase in traffic, and it may make sense to increase your PPC spend to take advantage of the increase in search traffic.

Similarly, if there is any site downtime or removal of a page used as a site link in a paid campaign, pausing those paid campaigns are critical, so you don’t spend the budget and create user frustration by sending them to a broken page.

For proper execution of these types of examples, your digital marketing agency’s search engine marketing team must work to conduct keyword research, communicate data, and formulate an overarching strategy so SEO and PPC channels can work together to achieve optimal performance. Operating paid search and SEO in individual silos will not take advantage of opportunities to leverage each other and cause campaign results to fall short.

When choosing a digital marketing agency, it is vital to choose a partner who can provide SEO strategy and PPC marketing expertise.

Looking for a Digital Marketing Agency Partner?

If you’re interested in partnering with a proactive digital marketing agency that values trust, confidence, and creativity, you can reach out to us at Sales@LeverInteractive.com. We’re looking forward to helping you with your digital marketing needs in 2022 and beyond.

For more digital marketing insights and tips on PPC, SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, display, programmatic, and CTV, check back each week as Lever Interactive posts interesting, unique marketing content written by our digital agency experts.


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